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Harry C. James papers
MS 111  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Processing History
  • Biographical Note
  • Collection Scope and Contents
  • Collection Arrangement
  • Trailfinders Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Harry C. James papers
    Date (inclusive): 1794-1989, undated
    Date (bulk): 1930-1977
    Collection Number: MS 111
    Creator: James, Harry C. (Harry Clebourne), 1896-1978
    Extent: 27.54 linear feet (49 boxes, 1 flat file folder)
    Repository: Rivera Library. Special Collections Department.
    Riverside, CA 92517-5900
    Abstract: This collection is comprised of a wide variety of material related to Harry C. James, an educator, author, nature enthusiast, and founder of the Trailfinders organization. Included in this collection is correspondence, written articles and manuscripts, research documents related to Native American tribes, documents detailing land conservation efforts, personal materials, photos, and other material. Much of his material is either directly or indirectly related to Southern California, with many of his press clippings and written articles published by companies in that region. Harry C. James also led a movement to protect the San Jacinto and San Gorgonio mountains from land development projects, which was detailed in organization minutes, correspondence, and in newspaper publications throughout the collection.Within this collection, there is also a large amount of photographs, negatives, and other visual material that document his personal and professional life.
    Languages: The collection is in English.


    The collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright Unknown: Some materials in these collections may be protected by the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). In addition, the reproduction, and/or commercial use, of some materials may be restricted by gift or purchase agreements, donor restrictions, privacy and publicity rights, licensing agreement(s), and/or trademark rights. Distribution or reproduction of materials protected by copyright beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. To the extent other restrictions apply, permission for distribution or reproduction from the applicable rights holder is also required. Responsibility for obtaining permissions, and for any use rests exclusively with the user

    Preferred Citation

    [identification of item], [date if possible]. Harry C. James papers (MS 111). Special Collections & University Archives, University of California, Riverside.

    Acquisition Information

    Provenance unknown.

    Processing History

    This collection was processed by Anja Espinoza and Jamie Madrigal, Student Processing Assistants, 2016.
    Processing of the collection on Harry James papers was completed by undergraduate students from the University of California, Riverside as part of the Special Collections & University Archives Backlog Processing Project started in 2015. This project was funded by the UCR Library and administered by Bergis Jules, University and Political Papers Archivist, and Eric Milenkiewicz, Manuscripts Curator.

    Biographical Note

    Harry C. James was born April 25th, 1896, in Ottowa, Canada. He is most known for being a conservationist, ecologist, and an expert on Hopi and Cahuilla culture. James ran away from home when he was 17 and made his way to Los Angeles, California, where he met many of Hollywood's first film actors. During that time, he also created the Trailfinders, a hiking, outdoors, and conservation group in Southern California. The Trailfinders grew to include almost 40,000 boys over the course of its existence. In 1927, he married Grace Clifford, who was a school teacher. Together they created the Trailfinder's School for Boys, which taught appreciation for nature and classical music in addition to an intensive curriculum. As part of James' outdoorsmanship, he developed relationships with the Hopi and Cahuilla tribes, and became one of two white men to ever be accepted into the Hopi tribe, and was given the name Walking Bear. Harry became a very active writer and wrote extensively on nature and Native Americans; often contributing to newspapers and magazines about his observations of culture, conservation, and ecology in Southern California and the American Southwest. He also wrote several books on Hopi, Cahuilla, and other Native American tribes. His position as a leader and creator of the Trailfinders as well as a leader of conservationist efforts make him a notable figure in Southern California history, particularly in the Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles counties. Harry C. James lived to be 83 years old, and died May 28th, 1978, in Banning, California.

    Collection Scope and Contents

    This collection consists of correspondence, written articles and manuscripts, newspaper clippings and scrapbooks, pamphlets and programs, periodicals, research documents related to Native American tribes, documents detailing land conservation efforts, personal materials, photos, and other material. The correspondence consists of both personal and professional letters and telegrams, some pertaining to manuscripts. Other personal correspondence consists of postcards, greeting cards, and invitations. Some correspondence exists outside the correspondence series in order to preserve the context of the material. A majority of the manuscripts in the collection were written by Harry C. James but other authors are also represented. The collection includes newspaper clippings relating to Native Americans, environmental conservation, nature, Harry C. James, and other topics. The scrapbooks contain newspaper clippings about "Odds and Ends," a story by Harry C. James, and Southern California regions. The majority of the Native American material is related to the Hopi and Cahuilla tribes but other tribes are also represented. The environmental conservation documents contained in the collection discuss Southern California regions, particularly the Coachella Valley and the San Jacinto and San Gorgonio wilderness areas. The collection contains a variety of photographs and negatives that depict different people and landscapes. Many of the photographs included are of identified families with whom James kept in contact with, as well as unidentified individuals. There are also many Native American photographs, including several photos of the Hopi tribe.

    Collection Arrangement

    This collection is arranged into ten series as follows:
    • Series 1. Correspondence,1880-1989, undated
    • Series 2. Manuscripts and other material,1928-1977, undated
    • Series 3. Newspaper clippings and scrapbooks,1920-1979, undated
    • Series 4. Pamphlets and programs,1913-1979, undated
    • Series 5. Periodicals,1895-1985, undated
    • Series 6. Material on Native tribes,1880-1977, undated
    • Series 7. Environmental conservation and development documents,1924-1977, undated
    • Series 8. Personal materials and possessions,1794-1978, undated
    • Series 9. Photographs and negatives,1876-1977, undated
    • Series 10. Over-sized, Audio, and Realia, 1868-1976, undated

    Trailfinders Collection

    See also the Trailfinders Collection (collection number MS 353)

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    Cahuilla Indians
    Hopi Indians
    San Jacinto Mountains (Calif.)
    Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

    Genres and Forms of Materials